Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha (Signum Classics)
Works by J Anderson, J Goss, Howells, Leighton, Stanford et al
Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha
Signum Classics SIGCD 707 57:07 mins
This is St John’s College’s second live evensong recording, and one of the last recordings where its choir will be male-voice only – from January this year both girls and women are being admitted.
Any hint of the routine – the choir’s director Andrew Nethsingha has over 8,000 evensong services to his credit – is immediately dissipated in a rapt rendition of Julian Anderson’s anthem My beloved spake. Thrumming staccato accents on the word ‘speaking’, and a tingling crescendo on ‘Arise’, are just two of the subtleties Nethsingha elicits, and the feeling of tentative emergence from a long-endured winter is grippingly captured.
Psalms 12-14 are cast as mini-psychodramas, the chants fluidly parsed to point meaning in a way that will enthrall some, but perhaps strike others as too interventionist. In Howells’s Gloucester Service, the long-range climax in the Nunc Dimittis is thrillingly constructed, while Leighton’s Responses are movingly introspective. Taverner’s five-part Dum transisset Sabbatum boasts immaculate balancing of the voice strands, the vernal treble line a particular pleasure. Organist James Anderson-Besant’s ebullient take on the finale of Widor’s Symphonie VI caps the service, to which Andrew Nethsingha’s booklet notes are an edifying complement.
Reformation: Works by Mendelssohn, Stravinsky et al
Bernstein at 100 – The Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood
Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2; plus ‘Antonio Pappano Plays & Explains Sergei Rachmaninoff’
Schubert: Symphonies Nos 3, 5 & 8
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in D minor; String Symphonies Nos 1-6